Collection by Sarah Amandolare

Serene, Sustainable Home in Colorado


Seeking simplicity and open space, a Boulder-area couple settled on a wooded hilltop with views of the mountains and the city.

On a wooded hilltop near Boulder, Colorado, architect Stephen Dynia played to the landscape, lining a 2,500-square-foot home with glass to maximize views for a family of three. A high band of windows on the home's east side lets morning light stream through, while tall glass panels along the west side offer glimpses of the city, the Flatiron peaks, and Arapahoe glacier. Smart design elements limit energy consumption, add space, and contribute to the serene, cabin-like feel. A sequence of eight, 12-foot bays leads from the bedrooms to the airy kitchen and living area, creating an orderly yet open vibe for scientist Aaron Elliot Hirsh, his wife Veronica Volny, who leads Meadow Lark Farm Dinners, and their young son. Dynia used only concrete (for the floors), oxidized steel cladding, and wood (for the structure and ceilings). In-wall shelving provides extra storage, wood overhangs shade the west side and terrace, and a wood-fired boiler makes use of the 35-acre property's excess kindling and heats the home. "I think the most important decision was simply not making the house huge," says Hirsh. "That reduced the ecological footprint of construction, and continues to pay dividends in terms of energy consumption." He and Volny also took advantage of nearby and repurposed materials: bed frames feature used pipes and scaffolding, and local cottonwood, while the hefty dining room table—a riff on a classic George Nakashima design—is made from local maple.

A high band of windows on the east side of the home lets light in, while a simple wood overhang shades an outdoor...
Beyond the terrace, the backs of the Flatiron Peaks reveal themselves.
A linear sequence of eight, 12-foot bays extends the length of the home from rear bedrooms and an office to the open...
Tall, sliding glass panels extend along the west side of the house, including into the living area, which has views...
Sunlight streams through tall glass panels into the kitchen and living area, while on the opposite wall, a high band of...
For the dining room table, Hirsh and Volny collaborated with local company TCWoods, an urban sawmill that makes custom...
Concrete floors, wood ceilings, and unadorned walls are intentionally monastic.
A bed made from local cottonwood, supported by simple platforms.
Hirsh and Volny created a bed frame out of a rusted well pipe and scaffolding fittings.
A pizza oven and built-in storage spaces line a hallway, saving space.
Set amongst the trees, with its simple form and earthy adherence to wood, the home fits in well.

Get a Daily Dose of Design

Sign up for the Dwell Daily Newsletter and never miss our new features, photos, home tours, stories, and more.